Music and theatre have always gone hand in hand. In some ways, they pull from the same emotional well. While watching playwright Diana Burbano’s new play, we get a nicely condensed drama about punk rock, love, and family. I liked it, but I couldn’t help but feel I had seen this story done before. Of course, Fabulous Monsters is its own narrative. The plot has enough differences to set it apart –especially for an older generation. Still, the positive differences felt less new after watching it and more like a rehash of another story.Continue Reading
The theater critic has existed as long as theater itself. Ask Plato. It’s a co-dependent relationship where both thrive on each other’s existence. For the ever-sensitive actor the critic carries a double-edged sword: if they get a good review they love the critic like family; if they get a bad review (or no review at all) the critic is a complete moron who should be tarred and feathered. However, the theater depends on the critic’s review to bring in the crowds, they have access to the media and some people even read reviews. So there is the delicate balance of the relationship, based on an ever-tentative tolerance.
This relationship gets trickier when the critic is a member of the local theater scene, as both a participant, colleague and friend. For myself, I’ve been acting and writing in local theater in the Fullerton area since 2005. Several years ago I was invited to start writing critiques on Facebook for a local theater, a theater where I had acted in shows and had many friends. Knowing how touchy theater folks can be – they don’t call it drama for nothing – I was a little hesitant, and I warned them that I was going to be honest. But they liked my writing and were okay with that. So far I’ve had no complaints, at least not to my face. I’ve also started writing reviews for this website over the past year. Although I’ve been writing reviews on and off for forty years, I’m a relative newby to the OC theater world.
Joel Beers has been writing theater criticism in Orange County for twenty years, in the OC Weekly. Joel is easily the funniest and best writer of all local theater critics (of which there are few), and for my money, the most versed in the subject matter. Like me, Joel is a member of the theater world, as a playwright. He’s had a number of plays produced at Stages Theater over the years, and writes reviews for every theater in town, although the Weekly has seriously cut back on space for Arts the past few years. Joel gets criticized a lot by people in the theater world for being too hard on local theaters. He speaks his mind and is always honest. If he’s critical it’s because he holds the world of theater to a high standard. Nobody expects Broadway standard production values on a community theater level, but one does expect good quality theater: writing, acting, directing, design, imagination. That doesn’t require money. Joel will always research shows he’s reviewing, looking for interviews or background on the writer and the play. He does this because he takes it seriously.
Cabaret debuted in 1967 and has endured in the public’s consciousness. The original and its revivals have garnered 12 Tony Awards. It was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Liza Minelli and Michael York. Now it’s STAGEStheatre’s turn to utter the lines,
“There was a cabaret, and there was a master of ceremonies… and there was a city called Berlin, in a country… and it was the end of the world.”
Of course, when young American Cliff Bradshaw (Sam Kostka) came to Berlin in 1929, he didn’t plan on witnessing the end of the world. All he wanted to do was find a cheap place to live and write his novel. Those plans get derailed when he discovers the decadent Kit Kat Klub and meets the vivacious Sally Bowles (Tatiana Alvarez). While their relationship deepens, the changing political climate is about to complicate things for Cliff, Sally, and all their Berlin friends.
“Old stuff is so boring.” So sayeth thousands of high schoolers and a good chunk of the adult population. Shakespeare is not for everyone for obvious reasons. It takes a special actor to make the aristocracy of the Elizabethan era relatable. But if ever there was a troop to perform a long-winded play in vivid excellence, it would be the production of Shakespeare’s OC’s As You Like It. I don’t know how it could be better.
We begin the play in a prosperous dukedom ruled by the much-loved Duke Senior. His happiness is short-lived, however, when his brother Duke
In Shakespeare Orange County’s Summerfest 2015 staging of “As You Like It,” the tables are turned another 180 degrees as actor Josh Odsess-Rubin plays the comic heroine who hides her sex under the guise of a man named Ganymede (right) and then is surprised when the lovestruck Orlando, played by Colin Martin (left) shows how he would woo Rosalind when he sees her again. Photo by Jordan Kubat | Shakespeare Orange County.
Frederick usurps him from the throne and exiles him to a forest. Duke Senior’s daughter Rosalind remains at court as the dear companion of her cousin Celia. When the two girls grow into fair young maidens, they meet a young man named Orlando, who is driven from his home by the abuse of his malicious older brother Oliver. Rosalind and Orlando fall in love and are separated to meet again later. When Duke Frederick throws a tantrum for no reason other than that Rosalind is well-liked by the people, Rosalind finds herself banished. She and her cousin Celia decide to flee together, with Rosalind disguised as a handsome man named Ganymede and Celia as an impoverished woman called Aliena. They bring the court fool along with them and, while disguised, run into strangers, lovers, and banished family members.Continue Reading
From January 19th-24th Idina Menzel will be joined by her original Broadway castmates LaChanze, Anthony Rapp, and James Snyder in the award-winning show If/Then over at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.
“The original Broadway cast was like a family, and I am very excited for the family to be reunited on tour and to give audiences outside of New York the opportunity to see these exceptional Broadway stars in the roles they created.”
Tune in every Friday to http://www.kuci.org/or if you’re in the areas of Santa Ana, Irvine or Tustin turn your radio receiver to 88.9FM @ 4pm – 5pm for the AMB Theatre show in partnership with the Orange Curtain Review.